Date of Award:

10-2011

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)

Department:

History

Advisor/Chair:

Norman L. Jones

Abstract

In November 1558, Elizabeth I ascended the throne of England as a single Queen with Protestant tendencies in a male-dominated Catholic world. Her council believed it was imperative that she marry immediately, and the rest of Western Europe agreed. Catholic suitors sought to bring England back under Catholic control. Protestant suitors hoped for an ally in the religious wars that were ravaging Europe. Even Englishmen sought to become king. Ambassadors from the Spanish Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Baltics and Scotland came to negotiate the suits of their monarchs.

Ambassadorial correspondences are often used as primary source material for historians, yet few rarely recognize the importance of the ambassador and his role in the court, especially during the marriage negotiations of Elizabeth I. Ambassadors left their home to live in a foreign country, often for long periods of time. The ambassadors were the embodiment of their sovereigns during the negotiations, and often success or failure rested on their abilities. An ambassador was the eyes and ears of the Elizabethan court for his sovereign in a foreign country. They wrote minutely detailed letters that included basic facts and information along with court gossip and personal opinions and recommendations. Their intimate relationship with the Queen and her court made their recommendations invaluable to their monarch. They were far more than mere note takers and should be recognized as such.

The focus of this thesis deals primarily with the ambassadorial reports of the Spanish and Hapsburg ambassadors as they participated in the negotiations in one form or another during the time frame discussed, 1558-1560. They also not only wrote about their own negotiations but the negotiations involving Protestant and English suitors. Their reports are full of pertinent information that, without, their monarchs would have been blind to the goings on of the English court. The marriage of Elizabeth I was seen as a priority by all except her. During the first two years of her reign, more than a half dozen suits were pursued, not just by kings and dukes, earls and knights, but, more importantly, by their ambassadors.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on November 21, 2011.

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